A virtual reality system allows users to feel the vibrations of virtual water pouring into a real cup.
Credit: DigInfo News
A real cup vibrates as an anime girl cupbearer pours virtual water into its depths. That demonstration hints at the possibilities of adding the sensation of touch to vision in virtual reality worlds.
The "virtual water" demo gave viewers the sensation of water pouring into the cup held in their hands, according to DigInfo News. The virtual system even adjusted itself so that the water pouring sensation only came up whenever the real cup was held in line with the stream of virtual water.
A pair of 3D glasses worn by the virtual reality user has a magnetic sensor to gauge the direction the person is looking at any given time. That allows the virtual reality system to continually change the person's virtual viewpoint, so that he or she can view a scene from any direction.
The idea from the company Solidray and Keio University in Japan appears gimmicky at the moment. But the developers think that people will want to interact with virtual worlds in 3D and with life-size characters — regardless of whether they represent cartoony anime figures or real people.
In theory, Hollywood or foreign film industries might come sniffing around if the technology ever becomes cheap and effective enough to work with disposable 3D glasses. A more realistic scenario involves TV makers and video game developers tweaking the current 3D offerings for home entertainment to include more sophisticated uses of touch as a sensation.
But all of that would only happen if more people learn to love 3D experiences. Consumers have not flocked to buy 3D TVs, cameras, video game consoles or smartphones, said Louis Bedigian, a senior tech analyst at the financial news website Bezinga. And the Motion Picture Association of America reporter that 3D film sales at the box office fell by $400 million in 2011 compared to 2010.
Source: DigInfo News